Friday, February 1, 2013

Footsteps in the Snow


Claude Debussy

Where do these particular footsteps lead?


  1. Ironically -- or perhaps not ironically -- it's snowing right now in the Washington, D.C. area. Few are thinking about the final destination of all their footsteps.

  2. Not very musician-like for me to admit, but I often use Impressionistic music as background music when I read fiction.

  3. Young, old, rich, poor...

    It's where we're all headed...

  4. Yes, Joyce -- and Huston -- captured the same essence of resignation to despair Debussy evokes in Des pas sur la neige, only Debussy is more empathetic than Joyce who seems to revel in eloquent self pity.

  5. ...maybe you learn to follow the footsteps, duckman, instead of insisting upon being the first to leave an imprint. ;)

  6. So, FJ, do I detect a hint of hope -- even optimism -- in your reference to the protagonist's anxiety preceding the advent of Robinson Crusoe's man Friday?

    If so, good for you.

    As for me, while I believe life truly is eternal, it's only the agony that endures. The ecstasy comes in flashes every so often -- and then only if you're lucky. Many never experience much of anything beyond the creeping petty pace so bitterly scorned by Macbeth.

  7. Sometimes, death is not a cause for despair.

    I hope to God that I don't "live" out my final days the way that my mother-in-law is "living" right now in the final stages of Alzheimer's. Hideous. For all.

  8. Sorry, but I HATE Stephen King, and I HATE Jack Nicholson even more.

    I admit that King has a tremendous talent for story telling, but what he has done with it -- with the possible exception of The Shawshank Redemption -- has added greatly to the cultural pollution that has all-but exterminated the spirit that enabled brave men and women to carve this once-great country out of the wilderness.

  9. Death may well be a cause for rejoicing, AOW, as surely it is bound to be in your mother-in-law's case.

    Unfortunately, it is LIFE that too often gives case for despair.

    Surgeons must be very careful
    When they take the knife.

    Underneath their fine incisions
    Stirs the Culprit -- Life!

    ~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

    See also Robert Frost's much longer narrative poem entitled "Out Out".

  10. I am not too proud to follow the footprints, FT, especially when I already know where they lead to, and don't have to "guess" the road to Larissa.

  11. FT,
    Some of the ailing elderly commit suicide by doctor, that is, consent to risky surgery in the hopes that they won't wake up.

  12. FT,
    I didn't recognize the title of "Out, Out," but when I pulled up the poem online, I immediately recognized it.

    My father, who had his own sawmill for a time, knew this poem, BTW. Work accidents were quite common back in those days, of course.

  13. A bit puzzling the comment on Larissa, FJ.

    If a foolish-but-well-meaning person knew the way, his instructions would be adequate.

    So, of course, would those of a wise man.

    The difference, I suppose, between the sage and the fool, however, might be in the likelihood that the fool would give directions even if he did not know the way, while the wise man would simply say he didn't know.

    Plato didn't mention the possibility of a wicked person being asked the way to Larissa, did he?

    A wicked person would be likely to send the inquirers on a wild goose chase -- or worse instruct them to walk directly into a trap set by brigands for hapless wanderers with a few extra coins in their pockets.

  14. are you in a bad mood, FT? :-)

  15. Am I in a bad mood? Or was I in a bad mood when I posted Des pas sur la neige, Z?

    Not at all. I have been enjoying a period of sober contemplation which seems perfectly appropriate given the cultural and political realities we must endure these days.

    I don't believe Debussy was in a "bad mood," when he wrote Footsteps in the Snow. The piece may well be a musical depiction and evocation of despair, but like most of the truly great artists he empathizes with his subject.

    Pathos is one thing. Bathos quite another. Empathy with the former is ennobling. Indulgence in the latter is degrading.

  16. FT,
    You indicated that you hated The Shining. The book or the movie -- or both?

    I note that Stephen King has written a sequel to The Shining; the sequel is due to be released in September.

    Stephen King has written books and short stories in a variety of genres.

    BTW, the film The Shawshank Redemption is based on a novella from Different Seasons, a work of which I am particularly fond.

    Yes, yes, I am a fan of Stephen King, but not of all of his works.

  17. King is an extraordinarily gifted writer, AOW. There's no doubt about that, but MORBIDITY dominates most of his work, and I have a limited appetite for that sort of thing.

    Edgar Allen Poe, whom I greatly admire, certainly had morbid turn of mind, himself, but his writing is a lot "classier" than King's. Stephen could never have produced The Gold Bug, the Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Purloined Letter or the wonderful thrilling, haunting, evocative music found in The Raven, Ulalume, The Bells, or Annabel Lee.

    What I dislike most about Stephen King, I suppose, is the man, himself. I've always found him to be an obnoxious proletarian with base instincts and an obvious desire to punish and torment his audience.

    BUT that Shawshank Redemption and one or two other of his shorter works prove his talent is authentic.

    I just wish he'd it to to better use!

    As for The Shining. I read the book first, and found it very absorbing. Whatever else I might want to say about it only a fool would say it was not well written. BUT, the work left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I thought the movie was horrible, but that's because Jack Nicholson is horrible. I don't believe he is "acting." I think he is revealing his true self on screen -- a self that is terrifying and revolting -- no matter what role he plays.

  18. FT,
    I do not find Stephen King likable. However, one of my librarian friends -- she is not a fan of King's writing -- said that he is quite wonderful in person. She had occasion to meet him when he came to the library to do a reading of one of his works.

    an obvious desire to punish and torment his audience

    As King himself says, "When all else fails, go for the gross out." He is not a Poe.

    IMO, his best novel is 11/22/63, and his second best novel is The Green Mile. I find a maturity is his writing in those particular works.

    I am not fond of most of his science fiction.

    As for The Shining, I read it during a blizzard. The book scared the bejesus out of me!

    I must say one more thing about Stephen King. Hardened Leftist though he may be, his book On Writing is an invaluable manual about how to write effectively -- primarily how to write fiction effectively. However, he is a staunch supporter of "the tool box": good grammar!



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